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Do You Need Calcium?

Lately, I've had a lot of clients asking about how much calcium they should be taking. They are surprised when my answer is, "Not much." I find it both disappointing and frustrating that the current medical dogma is still telling people that they need to take calcium to avoid osteoporosis. Not only is this an incomplete and insufficient suggestion, but it can lead to some serious issues with calcium being deposited in all the wrong places. In fact, if you don't have sufficient intake of all the cofactors your body needs to assimilate and use calcium appropriately, you can end up with a higher risk of kidney stones, bone spurs, and even cardiovascular disease. (1)

calcium rich foods

If this is of concern to you, you might be interested in this little snippet from my forthcoming book, Own Your Wellness.

While we mostly think of calcium as being important for bones and teeth, we need it for so much more: muscle contraction (including the heart), nerve function, and blood clotting. The body needs to make sure there is a steady level of circulating calcium. This is regulated by your parathyroid hormone (PTH). Too little, and the body uses vitamin D to increase absorption of calcium in your intestines and tells the kidneys not to excrete so much out. If there’s too much, PTH signals

the opposite. Maintaining the right level of calcium can be impacted by some medications (like corticosteroids and chemotherapy), excess sodium in your diet, and even food additives like phosphoric acid in sodas. (2) If you have a hard time digesting fats in your diet or follow a low-fat diet, you may need to pay attention to how well you assimilate calcium, as well as other minerals. This is also the case if you are taking acid reducers (like Prilosec) or have had your gallbladder removed.

Most of us, even if we don’t eat dairy products, should be able to get enough calcium from our diet. But remember, minerals aren’t broken down and are as easily absorbed as vitamins. The bioavailability of calcium (meaning how much your body can actually utilize) is only about 30 percent for even the best food sources. If your cup of almond milk says it has 300 mg of calcium, you’ll likely only get about 90 mg at best. That said, the RDA for calcium listed on food labels does take this bioavailability issue into account. The other thing to consider is that some plant food sources of calcium may have a high level of “anti-nutrients” like oxalates and phytates. These can bind to calcium and prevent your ability to absorb it. The best way to deal with this is to just make sure you cook your dark green leafy veggies and throw out the excess water. Sardines and other small bony fish are my favorite sources of calcium since you are actually eating those tiny little bones. You can also get a good serving from chia seeds, edamame, tofu, soaked and sprouted almonds, cashews, and other cooked legumes, and of course, dairy. (3)

If your health practitioner has told you that you need a calcium supplement, please take note. Calcium, taken alone, can not only be unhelpful in keeping bones strong but can actually wreak havoc on your health. It is critical that you take it with all the necessary cofactors for proper calcium metabolism and deposition in your body’s soft tissues. Look for a multi-mineral and vitamin supplement that includes magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K2, phosphorus, zinc, boron, potassium, vitamin C, and manganese. (4) At the time of writing this book, I am currently really into a product called Bone Restore with Vitamin K2 by Life Extension. Regardless of the formulation you end up taking, remember to take it with a meal or right after. I prefer taking my bone restore formula after dinner.

If you would like help figuring out the right mix of supplementation for you, feel free to reach out. I'm here to help you!

Yours in health,


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